The employee was a glazier who was assisting his boss in the unloading a large piece of untempered glass measuring 90″ x 113″ x 3/4″ thick and weighing approximately 200 pounds. The sheet collapsed without warning and severely lacerated his right forearm.
The quick action of the insured employee’s boss, a former police officer, saved his life. The employee was taken by helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital, where his arm was saved by a team of doctors who performed extensive surgery.
The sheet of glass was noted to have had a number of “clams” which are the product of the use of glass shears, used to cut the sheet into a straighter edge. This created a weakness in the glass undetectable to the human eye. The vibration during transportation of the glass on an exposed glass rack on the back of the delivery truck caused the cracks in the glass to migrate. When the large sheet was lifted, the weight of the glass below these undetectable cracks caused that portion to break away from the sheet, and severely wound the glazier.
Most of the broken glass was discarded. However, the employer saved a few pieces, the largest of which was no more than 2 feet square. A noted ceramics expert from Rutgers University was retained to determine the cause of the unexpected collapse of the glass based upon the accounts of the witnesses and an inspection of these few small pieces of glass. He opined that the fabricator of the glass had created an otherwise undetectable defect which made the glass unreasonably unsafe, and the load created by the vibration during shipping weakened the glass to the point where it collapsed without warning and injured the plaintiff.
The case was settled after a 3-week trial in Connecticut in an amount nearly double the highest personal injury verdict that had been returned in that district of the Superior Court in the 2 years before this trial.
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